The southwestern slopes of the Ferghana Range have always been and remain mysterious for cavers. These limestone slopes of the ridge, overgrown with forest and shrubs, hide the caves. On the slopes there are a large number of springs. In the Tien Shan, these places are the most moist. The greatest amount of precipitation falls here – about 900-1000 mm per year.

Local residents have long been talking about the caves that they saw in different gorges. Our goal, in 2020, to explore some karst areas available for cars and horses. Therefore, we invite everyone to take part in the expedition to the Ferghana Range. The most attractive in our opinion are the areas under the names: Isfan-Jailoo, Seresu and the Kumysh plateau, as well as Kara-Alma (Kuraves).

Seresu karst region located on the limestone mountain range Isfan-Jailoo, which is the northwestern spur of the Ferghana mountain range Range.

The name Seresu, was given to the place by the eponymous lake located here at an altitude exceeding 2000 m. The place is beautiful and attracts many tourists and travelers. There are 3 known caves that were found by a local tourist club during an excursion. Cavers learned about the caves later. Inside the caves were found formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The largest of them is more than 150 m in length. But hiking trails always lead along the same route, bypassing places where possible entrances to yet unknown caves can be hidden.

Previously the area wasn’t explored by cavers. The description and pictures made by geologists show that limestone walls and canyons can be of interest for searching and exploring new caves. Locals from surrounding villages informed us of black holes on the walls of gorges and canyons, the holes may lead deeper turning into caves. Some local elders tell legends about how, during the early time of the USSR, rich people hid from Communists their gold and jewelry in caves. Of course, for a long time nobody remembers about their location, but, nevertheless, people remember that the caves were places to run away and hide treasures.

Isfan-Dzhailoo massif, according to geologists, is a classic example of pure calcareous limestone with a high content of calcite. The limestone refers to  Carboniferous geological age (C) and composes a mountain mass at more than 3,000 meters high. The upper part of the massif represents a long plateau. To the northwest of the Seresu region located deep canyons with numerous black holes on the walls. In the vicinity of lakes there are numerous karst springs that feed the lakes.

The limestone massif is broken by numerous cracks and faults, which could be channels for the movement of groundwater, which in turn could form tunnels and galleries. A fairly dense forest covering could produce a copious amount of carbon dioxide to dissolve the limestone.

The Isfan-Dzhayloo mountain range as part of the Ferghana Range serves as an accumulator of an abundant amount of moisture as a source for moist air currents bringing moisture from the north-west. The area is one of the most humid places in Kyrgyzstan, and in the Tien-Shan. This is evidenced by the large number of springs and streams in canyon thalwegs.

Last two years, cavers were planning to explore the karst area, but some organizational issues concerning logistics and search areas remained unclear. Due to the lack of roads it is very difficult to get to the very heart of the area. The delivery of equipment is possible only by the use horses or donkeys.

An excellent option for research tactics is to set up a base camp in the area of lakes Seresu, from where it is effective to make 2 or 3-days autonomous radial tours for exploring the area. Later on it would be expedient to change location of the base camp, to the north-west near Karakul town where it is convenient to study high plateaus.

We plan to get to the base camp location using horses. The best time for the expedition is August.

We invite everybody interested to participate in the expedition first half of August 2020. Interested caver groups can contact us at

Alternative karst area and stories about local caves

Photos of the karst areas of Seresu and Kuraves

 Expedition route, location of the karst region

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